I’ve been tied up with boundary changes and having a birthday at the weekend, so this is just a quick post to catch up with some of the voting intention and Scottish Independence polling I’ve missed. Looking at Westminster voting first, I’ve updated the voting intention on the sidebar to include all the latest figures. Overall the Conservative party’s lead remains strong – most polls still have the Tories at around 40% and Labour around 30%.

The two most recent polls, from YouGov and Ipsos MORI, both showed the Tory lead falling a bit – YouGov had a lead of 7 points (down from 11), MORI a lead of 6 points (down from 11). In the case of YouGov, this is actually within the normal range of their recent polling (they had the Tory lead at 7 and 8 points in August too) and the MORI poll is probably at least partially a reversion to the mean after an anomalously high 45% score for the Tories their previous poll. Nevertheless, it may be a sign of Theresa May’s honeymoon continuing to fade.

Two years on from the Indyref we’ve also seen a handful of new polls on Scottish independence. The last time I wrote about polling on Scottish independence was at the end of July. Back then we had seen a couple of polls from Survation and Panelbase taken immediately after the EU Referendum that appeared to show a shift in favour of Scottish independence, but a YouGov poll taken a few weeks later showing no apparent change. We’ve had several more Scottish polls since then, including more recent polls from Survation and Panelbase, as well as polls from TNS and Ipsos MORI. The picture now looks very clear, showing NO ahead with no obvious net movement towards Yes as a result of the EU referendum (though as John Curtice points out there has been churn under the surface). MORI show NO five points ahead, Survation, Panelbase and TNS all have NO six points ahead.

464 Responses to “Catching up on voting intention and Scottish Independence”

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  1. Laszlo
    Thanks for asking, the ablation was successful and generally she is fine. I suspect a few days by the sea, and away from me (some here might agree with that ?) will do her the power of good.

    “Yes, given your positive outcomes in such things at the mo, conventionally one might suggest you invest in some lottery tickets!!…”

    Yes , if I was a gambler it would be an option, but as you know the only gambling I do is on the markets. My “gut feel” as to how the markets would respond initially to the Brexit vote, proved correct and I did very well as a result.

    The thing that Corbyn has brought to UK politics is that at least he is different, and certainly the existing Labour establishment have not had a clue how to deal with him so far. Will the party split, who knows but I rather doubt it, at least not yet.

  2. Well that’s it for another year. Labour have annointed The Chosen One and now resume their march in the wilderness. All that is now needed is to find a donkeny for him to ride on, but make sure it’s a strong one, as he could have to carry his burden for quite some time.

    It is disappointing to see some immediate sniping from people like Yvette Cooper, and Labour already have their first resignation since the re election, once again over claims of anti semitism. Interesting also that Andy Burnham’s comments have been widely interpreted as saying that Corbyn has limited time to prove himself, and if he can’t he should go. While Burnham has behaved honourably/without a spine [delete as appropriate] ordinarily his views would be seen as critical, but under Corbyn’s brand of leadership we can’t take that as gospel – he might just ignore it again.

    If judged against the metric of winning general elections, few could disagree that Labour have made the wrong choice, although equally ‘the worst of a bad job’ is probably an apt description of the contest. Nonetheless, pollingwise, we are in an interesting place.

    To return to AW’s original post, is was received wisdom that a Brexit vote would cause the break up of the UK as a matter of course, but the polls currently suggest otherwise. May be this is a response to the financial turmoil that would result given the oil price factor, or may be it is simply that we have reached the high watermark of independence, but for whatever reason, what we ‘know’ turns out to be less certain than many people thought.

    Perhaps the certainty that Corbyn can’t win is another false belief that will be proved wrong in time? It’s possible, but while I rejected the conventional wisdom regarding the impact of Brexit on the Scottish question, I can’t find it in myself to reject the notion that Corbyn is an out and out loser.

    Even with May shooting herself in the foot over grammar schools and all the confusion over Brexit, it’s a real stretch to imagine Corbyn’s Labour being competitive at the next GE, let alone having a chance of winning. I say this for four reasons;

    1) If Corbyn had the ability to ‘learn lessons’ and magically become competent, this would have happened within the last year. Even this week, we’ve had another case of a facebook post being deleted becasue of anti semitic questions, and there remains a confused message coming from his team on matters like deselections, even as they celebrate victory. He will remain a confusing and contradictory leader, lacking impact and competence.

    2) It also clear that the rebels aren’t suddenly going to get fully behind him and draw a line under this. They will make the right noises, but they know they are hurtling to oblivion, and will not wish to sit idly by for very long and watch the carnage. With no simple means to safely remove Corbyn available within Labour party mechanics, it’s going to be messy and drawn out, creating possibly as much damage in the short term as leaving Corbyn in place.

    3) Corbyn’s campaign style well suites a left wing Labour leadership challenge, where they love talking to people like themselves at huge rallies, and demonising anyone who takes a slightly different stance, but in a GE campaign this is potentially disastrous.

    Many decent people vote for the Conservatives, Lib Dems, SNP etc, and bringing the mentality of the mob forward as your chief campaign strategy risks alienating those very many people you need to switch sides and back Labour. Corbyn has demonstrated repeatedly that he is unable to control much of what is said and done in his name, and I can forsee some significant problems when the banner waving green haired brigade goes up against the blue rinsers.

    4) Brexit. I may be wrong, but I suspect the difficulties likely to arise over Brexit, both in terms of the deal negotiated and the economic fall out around it, are going to be deeply troublesome for the government. Smith (or nearly any other Labour leader) could well have exploited this, but Corbyn will struggle. His stance on Brexit has been confused and poor, and his ability to capitalise and make life hard for May will be limited.

    This task will be taken up by Fallon with relish, and we are already seeing minor signs of a Lib Dem recovery. Tories may lose support over this, but I doubt that Corbyn will mop up much of this. I suspect the Lib Dems are in quite a good place, having a strong folk memory of being in such a position and knowing how to fight their way through it.

    Brexit will probably dominate this parliament, and the Lib Dems provide a clear rallying point for remainers in a way that Corbyn can’t.

    Interesting times, as they say, but in reality, not that interesting. Labour remain in the mire, with no sign that they can find their way out.

  3. Alec

    Interesting post. This feels like a portentous year, but I am reminded of an A level history question of many years ago:

    “A turning point at which history failed to turn.” Discuss this view of 1848.

    Will the year end, and next year carry on, with more of a whimper than a bang? Corbyn muddling along at around 30% in the polls, UKIP fading gently, the LDs putting on a point or two, May losing some support but still way ahead for lack of any appealing alternative? Talk of Indy2 fading as No remains stubbornly ahead in the polls. The EU carrying on as before, the Brexit negotiations sinking into boring bureaucratic obscurity? Clinton winning a clear victory, Trump retiring to tend his hair?

    Well, as you (almost) said, you never know what fireworks are round the corner, but muddling on seems to be what we Brits do best.

    I think your forecast of difficult times for May over Brexit is almost certainly right. She can’t keep everyone happy with so many mutually exclusive expectations out there. This morning’s revelations of the Cameron camp’s outrage at her perceived treachery suggest a deepening divide amongst Tories, and I think she’s increasingly boxing herself into the corner labelled “Hard Brexit’.

    I suspect it’s all going to be slow-burn stuff, but there’s still almost four years till the next election. A smouldering fire can wreak havoc, given long enough!

  4. An interesting article on the voting figures yesterday and the missing thousands.

    The beginning’s a bit paranoid, but once you get through that….


  5. Alec

    Whilst I am far from optimistic about Corbyn, it is unfair to single him out for having a confused and poor position on Brexit, then every other politician has a confused and/or poor position on Brexit.

    The reason of course being that when the government chooses between the single market and immigration, they will alienate and anger a large chunk of the electorate. The only question is which one. No wonder that the government and the centre left of Labour are both pretending that “Cake and eat it Brexit” is possible.

    I am not making any predictions about the next election until the Brexit deal is done.

  6. ICM for the Sun on Sunday:

    Con 41, Lab 26, UKIP 14, LD 8, SNP 5, Greens 4, Plaid 1.

    Labour’s lowest rating whilst in Opposition since September 1983, I believe.

  7. Correction to an earlier post when I mentioned my son. He is actually a professor of immunology not cytology as I posted.


    I certainly agree that predicting the next election will be much harder than the last and I would not dream of trying at the moment. Too many imponderables at the moment.

  8. @Alec, I broadly agree with your analysis.

    I doubt that the Lib Dems will be able to capitalize on Brexit for two reasons. 1) Timmy Fallon is a lightweight and I don’t think he has the charisma to get enough impactful airtime that the Libs would need to make serious political in-roads . 2) They have only 8 seats, 6 of which I believe voted out in the referendum. They’ll do well to hold onto those six. Where are they going to target with their re-joining the EU policy? Labour’s London strongholds or the SNP strongholds where the remain vote was majorly stacked up? Their policy is badly thought through to say the least.

    As to the inevitable costs of exiting the EU. I believe the Tories will repeal the FTPA and go to the country in 2019 on the conclusion or just prior to the conclusion of A50. That way any bad effects are likely to be felt at the start of the following Parliament.

    Tory HQ must be considering this course of action for the next general election especially as it seems likely that a hard Brexit will happen with limited access to certain sectors of the single market in return for preferential access to parts of the UK market at best.

    Labour really are in the mire bigtime. Momentum are pro-EU, pro-freedom of movement, pro-immigration and are disproportionately London-centric urban young idealists. The metropolitan thinking PLP are almost entirely pro-EU, pro-freedom of movement and pro-immigration. What they disagree on is really not that important because their bigger problem is that 70% of Labour constituencies rejected their shared vision of the above.

    A recent poll showed 50% of voters that voted Labour in 2015 and voted for Brexit have abandoned the party. That’s something like 1.8 million votes. Today’s ICM poll gives the Tories a 15 point lead.

  9. Sea Change,

    As far as I can tell, the current line of the left of Labour is that the Tory-voting middle classes will flock to Labour on the promise of railway nationalisation.

    (They don’t seem to have as much faith in first-time voters since Brexit.)

  10. @hawthorn – “Whilst I am far from optimistic about Corbyn, it is unfair to single him out for having a confused and poor position on Brexit, then every other politician has a confused and/or poor position on Brexit.”

    No, this is wrong.

    If you read my post carefully, you will see that my comparison was specifically with two other politicians – Owen Smith, and Tim Farron.

    Both of these have a very clear set of ideas that have been effectively communicated to the electorate already. If you are pro EU, you understand very clearly what these two seek from Brexit, whereas Corbyn’s attitude remains fairly opaque, and it is difficult to predict how he might respond to different outcomes.

    Farron has stated he will seek to keep UK in the EU, Smith that he wants a second vote and supports the EU. Corbyn – ?.


    It’s laughable, isn’t it? At least the PLP understands this, but with the likes of Owen Smith calling for 2nd Referendums, even if they got rid of Corbyn they’d face almost certain defeat at the next GE. Labour need a Damasian conversion to the perceived needs of the working classes and fast.

  12. Well, that ICM poll is dire for the LP, although still within the margins of error from the last ICM poll. There was no reason for change, anyway. So LP has been statically awful over the summer.

    It perhaps also shows that the general public cared very little about the leadership election, as far as details (the so called policies) are concerned.


    Sea Change

    Momentum is not particularly big, and they aren’t particularly young judging by their congregation in Blacke. In any case, that “exit poll” (highly questionable) gave the young brackets to Smith, while I doubt that Momentum members would have voted for him. In addition, new LP members are proportionally less London-centric than use to be (although Southeners are heavily represented among them).

    While Brexit will continue to influence political behaviours, I think the vast majority of the voters have already passed the question, and left it behind. So, I think the discussion here is well out of proportion.


    As to the LP, as the PLP has already said that we lost so we want to win, and hence continue with their sabotage, I really think the administrative measures I suggested back in July is the only way to go, and I also think the Corbyn-group won’t do it.

  13. new thread

    I believe the Tories will repeal the FTPA and go to the country in 2019 on the conclusion or just prior to the conclusion of A50.


    Have the Cons appointed enough new members of the HoL to be able to do that?
    Which party or parties in the HoC do you think will support them and whip their HoL contingent to agree?

    In any event, if the details are not set stone who will believe them?

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